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Customer Advisory

SOLAS Container Weight Verification Requirements

Effective July 1, 2016

January 5, 2016

Dear Valued Customer,

The enforcement of the SOLAS Convention (Safety of Life at Sea) requirements regarding the VGM (verified gross mass) of a packed container will be effective July 1, 2016.

The responsibility for obtaining and documenting the VGM of a packed container lies with the shipper.

The VGM means the total gross mass of a packed container as obtained by one of the two methods described below.

  • Method 1 — Using calibrated and certified equipment, the shipper (or a third party appointed by the shipper) weighs the packed container at the end of the stuffing operation once the seal is affixed.
  • Method 2 — The shipper (or a third party arranged on behalf of the shipper) weighs all the cargo and other contents (packages, cargo items, pallets, dunnage, packing and securing material, etc) plus the tare mass of the container. The total sum obtained is the weight to be provided as VGM. This method is subject to certification and approval by the competent authority of the state or country in which the packing and sealing of the container was completed. Some governing bodies will not allow this method.

Per the regulation:

  • Estimated weights are not permitted.
  • If the Verified Gross Mass is not provided, the container will not be loaded onto a vessel.

Westwood is monitoring the progress of this regulation and working in cooperation with our customers, vendors and industry partners to develop best processes for VGM in each country within our trade lanes.

The following links contain helpful information:

http://www.worldshipping.org/industry-issues/safety/SOLAS_CHAPTER_VI_Regulation_2_Paragraphs_4-6.pdf

http://www.worldshipping.org/industry-issues/safety/MSC_1-Circ_1475_-_Guidelines_Regarding_The_Verified_Gross_Mass_Of_A_Container_Carrying_Cargo_-Secretariat-.pdf

http://www.worldshipping.org/industry-issues/safety/WSC_Summarizes_the_Basic_Elements_of_the_SOLAS_Container_Weight_Verification_Requirement___January_2015_-3-.pdf

As always, please feel free to contact your customer service team if you have any questions or concerns:

Eastbound: 1-800-621-4371
Westbound: 1-800-220-9752

Westwood Shipping Lines